Design Speed, Operating Speed, and Posted Speed Practices

National Cooperative Highway Research Program

"Speed is used both as a design criterion to promote consistency and as a performance measure to evaluate highway and street designs. Geometric design practitioners and researchers are, however, increasingly recognizing that the current design process does not ensure consistent roadway alignment or driver behavior along these alignments. The goals of the NCHRP 15-18 research project were to reevaluate current procedures, especially how speed is used as a control in existing policy and guidelines, and then to develop recommended changes to the design process. Objectives completed included the following:

  • Review current practices to determine how speed is used as a control and how speed-related terms are defined. Also identify known relationships between design speed, operating speed, and posted speed limit.
  • Identify alternatives to the design process and recommend the most promising alternatives for additional study.
  • Collect data needed to develop the recommended procedure(s).
  • Develop a set of recommended design guidelines and/or modifications for the AASHTO A Policy on Geometric Design of Highways and Streets (commonly known as the Green Book)."

Filed in: Engineering, Enforcement, Plans and Policies

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